April 26, 2010



To:                   SPEEA NW Council

From:              SPEEA NW Legislative and Public Affairs Committee

Subject:           Pre-Submitted new Business: Support a Seattle, Tacoma and all other Washington State Cities’ Ordinance for Paid Sick Leave





Many workers have no sick leave or must take sick leave at their own expense.

In January 2008, the full SPEEA Council took a position in favor of the Healthy Families Act, which provides paid sick leave, exempting small employers. In June 2009 the SPEEA Council endorsed a similar proposal in favor of paid sick leave. Both the Seattle and Tacoma City Councils are considering a local ordinance with similar provisions.

In Seattle 190,000 workers, 42% have no paid sick leave; including 78% of restaurant workers, 55% of retail workers, and 29% of health care workers. From a public policy perspective, public health officials and the Center for Disease Control recommend that workers stay home when they are ill, to prevent the spread of disease, speed recovery, and lower treatment costs. For workers without paid sick leave, this becomes a personal hardship. Many workers simply cannot afford to stay home and/or are sanctioned when they do.

Paid sick leave boosts morale, commitment, retention and productivity. When San Francisco passed a sick leave ordinance the city had stronger job growth than surrounding counties the following year.

The Seattle Coalition for a Healthy Workplace is working toward a sick leave ordinance in the city of Seattle that will

·         Ensure all workers can earn a minimum of one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked

·         Provide flexibility to employers in providing paid time off policies

·         Set a minimum standard of 40 hours accumulated paid sick time in companies with 10 employees or fewer and 72 accumulated hours in larger firms.

More information:


Healthy Tacoma - http://healthytacoma.net/


San Francisco ordinance: http://sfgsa.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=1611 and http://www.sfgsa.org/index.aspx?page=419


Washington State Employment Security Statistics: http://www.workforceexplorer.com/




It is moved that: The NW SPEEA Council supports the principle and practice of paid sick leave and will work with the “Seattle Coalition for A Healthy Workforce” to pass a paid sick leave ordinance in Seattle. In addition, the NW SPEEA Council supports the passage of similar ordinances in all other cities of Washington State.


(PRO/CON Statements on page 2)




1. SPEEA members may benefit from a healthier community if sick workers have paid time off.

2. This may also raise standards for employers, in the area, protecting our contractual sick leave benefits.

3. This may help families by allowing parents time to care for their sick children.





1. Some SPEEA members may see this as outside their interests.

2. May put at risk the creation of entry level jobs.

3. May result in a reduction in wages to compensate for the sick leave benefits.